GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum College unveiled its 2013-14 men's basketball schedule that includes 28 regular-season contests, as well exhibition games against some highly touted Division I programs announced head coach Michael Jones.
The Pioneers will be competing in its 15th season as a member of the South Atlantic Conference and will take on a 22-game league schedule that includes conference newcomers Coker College and Queens University of Charlotte.
"Playing a 22-game conference schedule will add its own stresses and pressures to our schedule this year," said Jones. "Obviously, first and foremost, it cuts down on the number of non-conference opponents we will be able to face to "tune-up" for the South Atlantic Conference. The good thing is that all 12 teams in the conference are faced with the same situation."
Along with the large conference slate, the Pioneers will also face three Division I programs, including exhibitions against the University of Notre Dame and the University of Tennessee, and a regular-season contest at nearby East Tennessee State University.
"I couldn't be more excited about facing three Division I opponents this year. Being able to take our TC product and present it on such big stages is fantastic for our team," Jones added. "We plan on entering every game we play with the mindset to win. We know that playing these teams will help us line up against teams in the SAC."
Tusculum opens with a Nov. 1 exhibition game at Notre Dame in the first meeting on the hardwood between the Pioneers and the Fighting Irish. The Irish are coming off a 25-10 campaign that included a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pioneers open the regular season on Nov. 9-10 as they compete at the Peach Belt/SAC Clash in Augusta, Ga. TC will face host Georgia Regents University (formerly Augusta State University) the first night and will follow the next day with a match-up with Lander University.
The following weekend (Nov. 15-16), Tusculum will face Trevecca Nazarene University and Barton College at the Carson-Newman Classic in Jefferson City, Tenn. Trevecca Nazarene went 11-17 competing in its first season as a member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, finishing third in the G-MAC race. Barton is the defending Conference Carolinas champion as the Bulldogs posted a 23-8 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II Southeast Region final.
Tusculum returns to Jefferson City four days later (Nov. 20) to open SAC play against arch-rival Carson-Newman University. The Eagles went 20-8 last year while finishing fourth in the league.
Following five straight on the road, TC will play its next three contests at Pioneer Arena beginning with a Nov. 23 contest against defending SAC Tournament champion Wingate University. The Bulldogs went 22-9 last year and finished tied for second in the regular season standings, while also advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Tusculum hosts Brevard College on Nov. 26 and close out the three-game home-stand with a Nov. 30 clash with Newberry College.
The Pioneers travel to Queens on Dec. 7 in the first league-meeting between the two programs. The Royals went 15-12 and tied for fourth place in their final season in Conference Carolinas.
Longtime in-state foe King University visits Greeneville on Dec. 11. The Tornado posted a 19-8 record a year ago, while finishing third in the Conference Carolinas standings.
Tusculum travels to Catawba College on Dec. 14 in a conference battle. The Indians went 9-18 last year, including a pair of losses to the Pioneers.
The Pioneers close out the pre-holiday portion of their schedule on Dec. 16 with a road contest at Division I East Tennessee State University. It will be the 60th recorded meeting between Tusculum and ETSU, but the first regular season battle since early in the 1957-58 campaign. The two programs have met in exhibition contests over the past few years.
On Jan. 4, the Pioneers travel to Knoxville to take on the University of Tennessee. It will be an exhibition game for Tusculum, but will count as a regular-season contest for the Volunteers. Tennessee went 20-13 last year, including a trip to the National Invitational Tournament. For the Vols, it will mark the first regular-season encounter with the Pioneers since 1944.
Tusculum steps back into conference action on Jan. 8 with a rematch with Brevard, followed by a Jan. 11 road trip to Lenoir-Rhyne University. LRU went 18-9 last season, while finishing fifth in the league.
Defending SAC champion Lincoln Memorial University visits Pioneer Arena on Jan. 15. The Railsplitters tallied a 25-6 worksheet, while advancing to the NCAA II Southeast Regional semifinal.
TC ventures to Wingate on Jan. 18 for a rematch with the Bulldogs, before returning home on Jan. 22 to face Carson-Newman.
The Pioneers square off against Coker in the inaugural meeting between TC and the Cobras. Coker went 13-14 last season and finished eighth in Conference Carolinas.
Tusculum makes the short trip over Sam's Gap to face cross-mountain rival Mars Hill University on Jan. 29, before returning to Greeneville for three straight home games at Pioneer Arena.
Tusculum takes on Queens on Feb. 1, before welcoming Anderson University on Feb. 5. Anderson finished runner-up in the SAC regular-season, while posting a 19-9 record. TC closes out the home-stand with a Feb. 8 battle with Catawba.
Trips to Lincoln Memorial (Feb. 12) and Newberry (Feb. 15) are next for Tusculum, followed by home contests with Mars Hill (Feb. 19) and Lenoir-Rhyne (Feb. 22).
The Pioneers head to Anderson on Feb. 26, before closing out the regular season with a home game and Senior Day with Coker on Mar. 1.
The 2014 Food Lion SAC Tournament begins Mar. 5 with quarterfinal games being held at campus sites. The semifinal and championship rounds of the SAC Tournament will be held Mar. 8-9 at Timmons Arena on the campus of Furman University in Greenville, S.C.
The NCAA II Southeast Regional will be held Mar. 14-17 at a campus site. The regional winners will advance to the NCAA Elite Eight, which will be held Mar. 26-29 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
Tusculum returns 12 lettermen from last year's squad that went 6-21 and advanced to the SAC Tournament quarterfinal. The Pioneers returns 79 percent of the scoring from last year's squad, including Addison Flynn (12.7 ppg) and SAC Freshman of the Year Keith Jumper (11.6 ppg).
Tusculum College, located in Greeneville, Tenn., is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, USA and is a NCAA Division II member of the South Atlantic Conference. Tusculum, the oldest college in the State of Tennessee, sponsors 15 intercollegiate sports, including men's lacrosse, which will be competing in its first season during the 2013-2014 academic year.
Tusculum, the 28th oldest college in the nation, is a liberal arts institution committed to providing a liberal arts education in a Judeo-Christian and civic arts environment, with pathways for career preparation, personal development and civic engagement. Approximately twenty-one hundred students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and three off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.
You can view the entire schedule on www.TusculumPioneers.com.